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Craig joined the 1st Battalion Scots Guards (Army infantry regiment) in August 1987 and left in August 1998 after completing 11 years service. During his career he served in Germany (1988 – 1993), Canada, Cyprus (a 4 month tour), 4 tours of Northern Ireland (1989, 1992, 1994, 1996) and also the Gulf War (Jan – April 1991).
Whilst in the Army Craig worked on tracked vehicles, support weapons, was part of Mortar Platoon and was trained as a combat medic and in signals.
Craig made the decision to leave the Army as he had recently married and felt that being in the Army may not be conducive to a happy family life due to the regular deployments and time that would need to be spent away from home.
After leaving the Army Craig spent several years installing cable TV and telephone communications. He also worked in the plastics industry making 5 layer barrier piping (used for under-floor heating, hot and cold water supplies) however the company moved their business overseas which resulted in Craig losing his job. In 2004/05 Craig’s marriage came to an end.
During 2015 Craig’s mental health began to deteriorate, and he admits to being in denial. This resulted in a relationship breakdown with his then partner. Subsequently, Craig ‘disappeared’ and was placed on the Missing Persons register. He spent his time living in a tent but it did not occur to him that this was not ‘normal’ behaviour. Following a chance meeting with a friend, who encouraged Craig to seek help, Craig was referred to SPACES, which is an organisation that supports single ex-service personnel who are at risk of homelessness with accommodation needs. As a result, Craig was offered a place at Mike Jackson House (MJH) in Aldershot. Mike Jackson House is a residence that provides independent accommodation and support for ex-service personnel who find themselves homeless.
Part of this support is access to a Walking With The Wounded Employment Advisor based at the residence.
Craig’s Employment Advisor supported him with 1:1 IT sessions to improve Craig’s skills ahead of attending an IT course which Craig passed at a very high level.
To help develop Craig’s skills he was actively involved in the administration and planning of MJH’s participation in Walking With The Wounded’s 2016 Cumbrian Challenge event.
Craig is receiving support from statutory services for his mental well-being. He is also receiving support from a Speech & Language Therapist for a childhood stammer which returned when his mental health difficulties escalated. This support has helped him manage this. Of his therapist Craig said “she is fantastic and has taught me breathing techniques that help me out when I feel under pressure”. Craig said that in October 2015 he couldn’t hold a full conversation with anyone but now he feels much better, and whilst he finds this frustrating at times, he is able to manage his stammer by using these breathing techniques.
Whilst at Mike Jackson House Craig has attended an introduction to mountain skills adventure training course run by Adventure Quest UK.
As a result of attending the course Craig is exploring employment opportunities that involve working outdoors. Craig is also exploring voluntary work options with his WWTW Employment Advisor as he is interested in supporting the Cadets or the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme.
Craig hopes that his love of the outdoors will lead to a career that incorporates this passion. He feels happy, relaxed and stress free when working outdoors.
Craig said he is feeling very positive at the moment.
Craig said "The support I have received from WWTW has improved my confidence ‘ten-fold’. I have been given opportunities to be part of a team but I am also able to develop my skills as an individual."
Craig said “I feel I have been given a purpose and some of the opportunities have been amazing”